Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, “Women in History Week,” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
Happy Women’s History Month! Today we celebrate Madonna.
With 16 Guinness World Records, 7 Grammys, and 68 nominations for the MTV Music Awards, it’s safe to say Madonna will go down in history as a pop icon. There’d be no Gaga, Britney or any other pop songstress without her.
She won a Golden Globe for her work on the movie Evita as Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.
Has Madonna won a grammy? She has in fact won several. Madonna has received 28 Grammy Awards nominations and has won seven of them. The pop star was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.
Although most fans are well acquainted with her hit songs, such as “Like a Virgin,” “Like a Prayer,” and “Material Girl,” an impressive career in films such as Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan, and status as a fashion legend and ultimate material girl, there are still more things than you can learn about Madonna if you dig a little deeper into her life.
The man who registered the domain name madonna.com wanted to give it to a group of nuns in Lincoln, Nebraska. Madonna sued and won control of the name.
Madonna most likely learned a lot of her patented dance moves performing on the cheer team at Rochester Adams High School.
Madonna worked at Dunkin’ Donuts while trying to make ends meet as a dancer in New York City, however, she reportedly lost her job after she squirted jelly at a customer.
Madonna has stretched her creativity beyond entertainment, writing over 20 children’s books since her first publication, The English Roses, in 2003.
Madonna said that she suffers from brontophobia, the fear of thunder and lightning.
While the relationship between Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow has been well documented, most people do not know that Paltrow was actually the Maid of Honor at Madonna’s 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie.
In 1979, she was the drummer for the band The Breakfast Club. It was her boyfriend’s band, and he got her in.
She has four brothers and three sisters. Madonna was the oldest girl, and had to change a lot of diapers growing up.
Her mother died of breast cancer when she was five. Her father later married the housekeeper and insisted that the kids call her “Mom.” Madonna refused.
After attending Catholic school, she went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on a dance scholarship. She stayed only one semester before leaving to pursue her dream in New York City. She said, “It was the first time I’d ever taken a plane, the first time I’d ever gotten a taxi cab. I came here with $35 in my pocket. It was the bravest thing I’d ever done.”
Madonna’s full birth name is Madonna Louise Ciccone (“Veronica” was added when she was confirmed in the Catholic Church). Madonna’s surname, Ciccone, is very close to the insulting Italian word for “fat man” (ciccione). Her father is Italian, her mother was French-Canadian.
When asked what she would be if she wasn’t a rock star, her answer was, “a nun.”
In 2001, a company called Condomania released a Madonna condom, with photos of her as a young dancer on the package.
In 2007, she left the Warner Music Group, where she had released all of her albums over the past 25 years, and signed a comprehensive deal with Live Nation, who became responsible for marketing all of her music and music-related business over the next 10 years. This became know in the industry as a “360 deal,” as it became clear that selling music was just one aspect of marketing an artist.
When she started out, Madonna’s signature look included bleached hair, crucifix jewelry, black jelly bracelets, and fishnet stockings. Jewelry designer and stylist Maripol was Madonna’s stylist, and had a huge role in creating her look, which was emulated by her fans.
She began studying the Kabbalah faith after giving birth to her first daughter, Lourdes, in 1996. In reference to her dedication, she adopted the Persian name Esther, meaning “star.” In defense of her religious beliefs, Madonna has said, “It would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party.”
Madonna dated the late rapper Tupac Shakur back in 1994. Speaking during the Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM Radio the singer admitted the relationship led to her swearing excessively when she appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman. “I was mad at [David Letterman] when I said the F-word a lot. I was dating Tupac Shakur at the time and the thing is he got me all riled up on life in general,” Madonna said. “So when I went on the show I was feeling very gangsta.”
Movies she has appeared in include Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League Of Their Own, Shanghai Surprise, Body Of Evidence, Dangerous Game, Swept Away, and Evita.
Madonna left The Breakfast Club in the early 1980s as she’d decided to go solo. Her music impressed DJ and producer Mark Kamins, who arranged a meeting between Madonna and Sire records founder Seymour Stein. He signed her on the spot. Seymour recalled to Mojo magazine:”I met this young club DJ, Mark Kamins, who I thought was special so I gave him a budget to find new artists for him to work with. The third or fourth was Madonna and he produced a track called ‘Everybody,’ which I thought very good. I’d been in hospital for about 9 days, but I called him saying I would like to meet her and try to do a deal. He called back at five o’clock saying we’ll be over at eight. She’d been turned down by a number of people including one of my idols, Chris Blackwell of Island records, so when she walked in she really wanted a deal. I thought she’ll be quite big, but after her fourth single ‘Borderline’ I knew there be stopping no stopping her.”
In 2003 Madonna became the first person to receive Razzle awards for Worst Actress (Swept Away), Worst Supporting Artist (Die Another Day) and Worst Screen Couple (Swept Away).
Madonna was 15 when she saw her first concert: David Bowie at Cobo Arena in Detroit. Since then, he’s been one of her heroes. She recalled to Mojo: “I remember just being frozen. Rigid. Like, staring up at this creature thinking. Oh my God, he’s everything. He’s male and female and beautiful and elegant and poetic and funny and ironic and (pauses, tearing up slightly) other-worldly. And I recognized myself in him somehow and he gave me license to dream a different future for myself.”
She was the biggest star not invited to sing on the 1985 charity single “We Are The World,” which speaks to how she was perceived by the music establishment. Among the artists who were invited: Kim Carnes, Steve Perry (of Journey), Cyndi Lauper and John Oates.
Madonna got inked for the very first time at age 62. The tattoo, which reads “LRDMSE”, is dedicated to her six children; it stands for Lourdes, Rocco, David, Mercy, Stella and Estere.
Even after hitting age 60, Madonna has no plans of slowing down, saying that she will only retire when she runs out of ideas to stay creative.